Q. How is it possible that there is a benevolent God when the world is full of misery and wickedness?
A. God has given man free will, and many men misuse it to do wrong.
Q. Is God then no longer omnipotent?
A. He still could intervene to stop men doing wrong, but that would be to circumscribe their freedom, so he chooses to limit the exercise of his omnipotence.
Q. Does he know the bad things I am going to do?
A. If he infallibly foreknew them, then it could not be the case that when the time came for me to act I might think better of it and change my mind. So I would not be free after all.
Q. Do you mean that God would have made you do them?
A. Not necessarily. It might have been my genes or my hormones: but it would not have been me, if I could not have changed my mind and repented of the evil I had in mind to do.
Q. So God is not omniscient?
A. It depends on what you mean by `omniscient'.
Q. There are some things God does not know.
A. There are lots of thing God does not know---that 2 + 2 = 5, for example.
Q. Of course God does not know things that are false: but it was not false that you were going to misbehave, was it?
A. May be it was not true either. The Schoolmen had many debates about the truth-value of ``future contingents''.
Q. Too scholastic for me. Leave aside all questions of knowledge. Can God foretell the future? I can predict that there will be a Board of Philosophy Meeting next Monday. Is God ignorant of that?
A. God can foretell that too.
Q. And if someone on Monday morning thinks it is too nice a day to waste on a meeting, and rings round and persuades everyone to cancel the meeting, God will have foretold wrongly?
Q. Quod nefas judico.